Sunday, August 30, 2009

Harvest Season is Upon Us

I had my first meetings of the school year on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, so this week already felt busy. It's amazing how much of the day feels gone when meetings (and going there and back) take up 5 hours.

Q had his last day at the old job on Friday and doesn't start new job until September 8, so he's got a few days of well deserved rest.

Saturday we went to the State Fair in Salem and stayed overnight. I'd never been to the State Fair and it was a really good time. There is so much to see. We saw a glassblowing demonstration and watched a bowl being made from start to finish. We bought the very bowl that we saw made and had to go back to retrieve it this morning after it had had its time in the annealer.Since we stayed in Salem last night, at a hotel about 1 mile from the fairgrounds it was not a big deal to go back. We also passed a small grocery on the way there and on the way back we got 28 ears of corn at 7/$1, onions at $.33/lb, and garlic 5 heads/$1. I'm going to blanch and freeze the corn still on the cob and the onion and garlic was necessary for the marinara and pesto. It seemed like a really good deal.

On the way home, we stopped at Thistledown and got the 200 pounds of tomatoes Valerie and I need for Wednesday morning's canning adventure. It looks like we're canning 42 quarts diced and 7 quarts of sauce this year. I also still need to make another 8 quarts or so of marinara. Marinara's working out to $2.65/qt for ingredients this year, so probably $3/qt adding in lids and energy costs. I have no idea how much the energy cost was but even my records don't need that level of obsessive-compulsiveness.

When we got home the decided to harvest the basil, since it really, really needed it. I've been pinching off flower starts for quite a while now. I can't believe we got 2 pounds of leaves. After looking at the bowls full of leaves, I decided that now was the time to upgrade our food processor from the little 3 cup one. We now own this one from Sears and so far I'm very happy with it. I did all 9 1/4 cups of pesto in one batch and now have 13 meals worth in the freezer. There are still a few immature plants that were hiding among the giants (as you can see from the middle picture below) so we'll see how much more basil I get. Making some rough guesses on water usage and counting the cost of basil seeds, pesto works out to about $1.50/meal ($4/pint) this year. That only works out to about $1 savings/pint from last year but it's a little skewed because the olive oil is organic and both it and the parmesan were more expensive this year ($2.50 total). Growing my own basil probably saved close to $1.50/pint.

We harvested the first Purple Cherokee tomatoes and the first eggplant today. We'll see.
Jumbo Pink Banana Squash just keeps getting bigger and there are at least 2 more started.
The first pea seedlings from the newest planting. The broccoli, cauliflower, beets, spinach, and a single parsnip have also sprouted. No kale or onions yet.

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